c 1900 Ransomes, Sims & Jeffries Straw Burning Portable Engine

BH 5 Ransomes Straw Burning Engine.jpg
BH 5 Ransomes Straw Burning Engine.jpg

c 1900 Ransomes, Sims & Jeffries Straw Burning Portable Engine

10.00

Ransome was founded in 1786 by Robert Ransome, an iron founder in Norwich who manufactured ploughshares. By 1884 Ransome, Sims & Jeffries was a major agricultural machinery manufacturer. [In 1998 the last of Ransomes was sold to Textron Inc. of the US]. Steam as a source of power on farms was initially limited. Some farms used engines bolted to the ground in barns for driving simple machinery. Later, machines were mounted on wheels and drawn by horse to where they were needed – especially for threshing. By the mid nineteenth century they had become self-driven and steerable so could travel to work. With demands for greater fuel economy manufacturers made the portable compound engine which had two cylinders. Steam was first admitted to the high pressure cylinder then to the low pressure cylinder where it provided a considerable amount of additional power. Ransome’s Head and Scemioths system had an extra-large firebox to enable straw and other dry matter to be used.  The apparatus for feeding the straw into the fire-box was driven from the engine crankshaft by a belt. The device consisted of two rollers fixed at the firebox door, and a trough which conveyed straw to the rollers. The straw was driven into the firebox in a fan shape so they would light instantly. The rollers had to be turned by hand to raise steam, but as soon as the engine turned the belt was threaded to the crankshaft. One man could operate it alone.

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